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Study: Wind & Brass Playing not undue COVID risk

Posted: 02/07/2021
"Ground-breaking study finds that playing woodwind and brass instruments generates less aerosol than vocalisation. Could this speed the return to normality for musicians? "

There has been much confusion over the safety of playing brass and woodwind instruments and the risks of transmitting Covid19.

Do wind instruments pose an undue threat of viral transmission to player, pupils and the audience?
This question, and many others, cause confusion and understandable concern for players, teachers, retailers and manufacturers, and so it’s great to have some research-backed clarification.

This Music Industries Association report alerted at Wind&Brass World to this interesting development. 

9 musicians playing 13 woodwind and brass instruments participated in a landmark research project which was supported by Public Health England, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), and UKRI and was carried out by a collaborative team from Imperial College London, University of Bristol, Wexham Park Hospital, Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust and Royal Brompton Hospital

The journal Aerosol Science and Technology, published the results of this study which shows that 'playing a brass or woodwind instrument produced no more aerosols than breathing and carries less risk of transmitting Covid than speaking, shouting or singing.'

Given how curtailed performance activities have been, this is great news and brings with it the hope that restrictions on performances involving woodwind and brass instruments could be safely relaxed. This would be very positive both for orchestra and band settings but also for soloists, chamber groups, and any band with a wind section. 

For those who want to understand more, a much more detailed review of the findings can be read on the Bristol University website.